Food Co-op Pic

Alexander Harkins      Harkins General Store was built in 1870 by Scottish immigrant, Alexander Harkin. At that time the town of West Newton was a more active town in the area. This was due to its location on the Minnesota River and the steamboat landing which served as a stopping point for much of the river traffic. Located in the town were a hotel, dance hall and brewery.

     In the 1870's, the railroads began to replace riverboats and a line was run through nearby New Ulm. This had an adverse effect on the town but the store remained open and served as a hub for the farming community.

     Eventually the town became less active and businesses began closing down. The owners of the Harkins store closed it down on Jan. 1, 1901. The building was reopened in 1938 as a museum with almost everything remaining where it had been in 1901.

     At right Alexander Harkin welcomes visitors to the store and provides information about its history and its importance to the people of Nicollet County.

Some Of The Items On Display
At Harkins General Store

Japanese Tea container
In the 1800's many companies made their products appear more exotic by giving them an Oriental look. The tin in the above photo was in the original store and came from a tea company in New York City.

Irish Soap box
Some of the material in the reconstructed Harkins General are reproductions to show how the goods would have looked at the time. However, much of the stock on display in the Harkins General Store is from the original goods that were on the shelves when the store was in operation.

 Antique Bottles on Shelf
The West India Stomach bitters company was
located in St Louis, Missouri. It was one of the many
patent medicines sold in the 1800's that were
being advertised to cure one's aches and pains.

     The Harkins General Store offers a historic glimpse of how a general store would have appeared during the 1800's. For fans of the "Little House on the Prairie" books and television series it's a first hand view of what one would see if they visited the Owen's store in 1870's Walnut Grove, Minnesota. (For the TV series the name was changed to Olsen but in the book, "On the Banks of Plum Creek" the family's name was Owens.)
     In its years of operation Harkins Store was a distributor of Uncle Sam's Harness Oil which was manufactured by the Emmert Propietary Company of Chicago. The company also made "Uncle Sam's Nerve and Bone Liniment" which came in small aqua bottles that had the "Emmert Proprietary Co. Chicago" embossed on them.
- From Richard Fike's 1987 book "The Bottle Book: A Comprehensive Guide to Historic, Embossed Medicinal Bottles."

Harkin's Historic General Store Visitor's Information
Historic sites in Nicollet County

Don't Miss These Events!!

"The West Arrives at West Newton"
Harkin Historic General Store
West Newton, Minnesota

Sunday Sept 5, 2010 1:00-4:00 pm
Jesse James Authority
John J. Koblas, Author/Historian

And outlaw music from
Lonesome Ron
King of the Valley Yodelers

& Folk Music Jam
Sunday October 17, 2010
1:00 - 4:00
Area folk and country musicians are invited
to bring an instrument and join in.

Visit Lonesome Ron's Cowboy Web Page

Please visit again as the work on this site progresses.

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